A group of three students from California Baptist University have created an online dating website exclusive to CBU called Ring by Spring and they have plans to launch one for PLNU.
This venture began when Matthew Fuller, a CBU junior business management major, decided to begin a college startup business along with CBU business management majors junior Christian Montoya and freshman Matthew McMartin.
“We listed the top three things that college students need and want and those were food, money, and affection,” Fuller said. “Since we couldn’t supply the money or the food, I decided why not a college dating website.”
The current schools featured are CBU, PLNU, and University of California Riverside. They hold pre-registrations for a school and if the registrations reach 200 participants, that school’s website will be launched. Sixty-four PLNU students are currently registered on the website.
Although, from the idea began at a Christian university, Fuller, Montoya and McMartin do not want the website to be exclusive to private universities.
“We decided to put up UCR just to kind of prove the point that we’re not just going for private schools or Christian schools,” McMartin said. “We want to hit the secular schools as well.”
The phrase “ring by spring” comes from college students getting engaged or married by their senior year. The creators insist that they are not promoting marriage by spring but rather a forum through which students can interact with each other on various levels.
During the process of registration, the website provides students the option to denote whether they are looking for friendship, a boyfriend or a girlfriend, a serious relationship, marriage, or an opportunity to share a cup of coffee with someone.
“If you’re looking for serious and long term, you can find it,” Fuller said. “But if you’re not looking for something serious, it’s not pushed on you like marriage.”
One of the challenges that the creators face is that online dating among college students does not seem to be very popular.
“College students don’t see the use for [online dating],” said Kevin Lewis a sociologist who specializes in social networks at University of California San Diego via e-mail. “At the end of the day, they are still surrounded by a pool of other individuals who [are] already preselected on two extremely important dimensions of compatibility for mate choice: age and education. With such a pool at their easy disposal, there is much less need to look elsewhere.”
Many PLNU students are opposed to the idea of an online dating website. Carissa Rau, a senior graphic design major who recently got married, thinks PLNU does not need such a website.
“If people want to date, they’re going to meet people in classes or through friends and the pairing will happen,” she said via e-mail. “I’m not sure it’ll catch on very well. I don’t think people should limit themselves to only dating other Lomans. We don’t need a bubble within a bubble.”
ASB President AJ Wolf does not think the website will have much impact.
“I don’t think that this website is actually going to create any lasting Loma marriages,” Wolf said. “But who am I to nay-say love.”
The creators asserted they were aware of the challenges.
“We obviously know that our generation is opposed to online dating but that’s why we’re not promoting the website as ‘here come here and find your relationships,’” McMartin said.
Ring By Spring does not use surveys to match up users like popular dating websites such as E-Harmony or match.com
“It’s all going to be on your own terms,” said McMartin. “You’re not filling out surveys, we’re not matching anybody. It’s just a private place for you to meet people that go to your school [in an] exclusive, safer, environment, not having to deal with the general public.”
Their hope is that Ring By Spring can bring campus communities together.
“Even if it’s not promoting new relationships, people are going to meet on the side,” Montoya said. “People are going to expand their social networking within the community and be able to get involved with people who go to their same school.”